DiveHeart: Following Your Passion

I haven’t met Jim Elliott of Diveheart yet but we plan to meet soon for a cup of coffee at my favorite coffee shop in Lantana.

I heard about Jim after taking a walk across the bridge and through the Nature Preserve in Lantana. It was a hot, sweaty day. I needed a cold drink, so I popped into the newly opened Good Vibes coffee shop where I met Tara and Finn weeks ago. We got to talking because they’re a very friendly pair. One thing led to another. I mentioned I was a writer and my latest book, Take Me Home, ended up on their shelf.

A part of the book’s sales go to a great organization called DiveHeart. Through scuba diving and other zero gravity activities, Diveheart gives kids with disabilities a chance to do something they never imagined they could do. Scuba dive!

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Jim Elliott had a successful career in advertising back in 1989 when he became inspired while watching his legally blind daughter ski for the very first time. It would be another ten years before he took the plunge and decided to chase his dream and follow his passion. In 2001, with the help of a friend, he started the non-profit organization Diveheart which has now helped over 100 disabled kids gain a sense of confidence, independence, and self esteem.

Check them out in this piece from NBC News:

Jim Elliott doesn’t collect a salary from Diveheart. He teaches scuba diving for income and lives rent-free with the help of a Diveheart supporter. When he travels for fundraising events, he brings along a bed roll and couch surfs. I love that. He is a man after my own heart.

It is always amazing to me the way people meet and touch each others lives. Tara and Finn quit their corporate jobs to open a friendly cafe in the small town of Lantana. I too quit my corporate job, along with selling my house and just about everything I own so I could devote more time to writing. My books sit on the shelf of their coffee shop and one day, following the magic of selling one book at a time, Wayne, the owner of the Key Lime House, stopped in for a fruit smoothie. He bought my  book while he was there, loved it, and invited me to the author’s table at the annual Lantana Fishing Derby’s weigh-in. This year Wayne decided to invite local artists and small entrepreneurs to join in the festivities by giving them a chance to sell their work. It was a great afternoon and I appreciated the opportunity to meet more people in the lovely little town of Lantana, including my fellow indie author A.C. Brooks. My husband is reading his book Foul Hooked and enjoying the local politics in the story.

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Jim Elliott admits that taking an 80% cut in pay wasn’t easy but it’s worth it just to see the smiles on the faces of the kids that Diveheart has touched. He is an inspiration to me, along with all the other people I’ve met who are chasing their dreams.

This is something I’ve always known but sometimes when I get down, when I feel the bigger, crazier world we live in is out to defeat me, I need to remind myself that life is short. This is the only time we have. Do what you feel in your gut is right. It isn’t always easy but at the end of the day you’ve done what you needed to do and in Jim Elliot’s case, you’ve helped other people in the process of doing it.

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